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From Ben Hyde <bh...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: ASF use of Instant Messaging
Date Thu, 16 Jan 2003 00:30:52 GMT

On Wednesday, January 15, 2003, at 03:05 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
> Noel J. Bergman wrote:
>> Are there any policies regarding IRC use, and is there an 
>> infrastructure
>> participation in setting on an IRC channel for a project, or do we 
>> just go
>> do something?  Several ASF projects use IRC, including tomcat, 
>> mod_perl,
>> Struts, Jelly, and others.  It appears that at least those hosted by 
>> Werken
>> maintain IRC archives to supplement the mail archives (I suspect that 
>> all
>> do).
>
> My own views on this:
>
> 1) People should not be any more upset about the use of IRC than they 
> should if two committers on a project happen to bump into each other 
> at an ApacheCon and take the opportunity to discuss a problem that 
> they are working on.

Sweetly put.  A nice use of what a graphic designer might call the 
whitespace.

People do get upset when they suspect that the dialog about the work 
has gone into a private space.  They get nervous.  They get suspicious. 
  They feel ostracized.  They wonder what the rules are.  They get 
peeved that people are changing the rules behind their back.  Of course 
they should relax.  Of course, they should ask.  "Yeah was there a 
conversation I missed?"  "Huh, when did that consensus form?"

I once worked at a place were we fell into the convention of speaking 
of the work only in NNTP.  It became odd to discuss it in the halls.  
We thought we were happy.  In part because there was always the nagging 
thought, I wonder what X would say about that.

I find it's important for people to take care to guard against the 
letting the dialog fork too far from the mailing list.  This is hard to 
avoid.  Particularly when some people are collocated and heavens to 
Betsy they eat lunch together - or worse have meetings with middle 
managers.

One thing that helps if people are willing to step forward and testify. 
  Say "I got into a long conversation with A and B.  We got to thinking 
This and That, and B admitted he's starting to like Those."  While 
these admissions may make others feel nervous that these off the record 
discussions are happening they also help people to know that they 
aren't, to first order, seed crystals of a conspiracy.

  - ben


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